In The Studio With…..Buscrates 16-bit Ensemble

BusCrates 16-Bit Ensemble was raised in Wilkinsburg (outer limits of Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania. Since his childhood, BusCrates had a vision and it was always clear that music would be his path and way of life. He started out djing at the age of eight at a local spot in Pittsburgh where a legendary disc jockey let him blend records and from there the rest is history. He has a wide range of taste from Les McCann, Herbie Hancock, and George Duke to Faze-O, Pete Rock, and Dj Spinna. Buscrates is a well known and respected DJ/Musician in the music community of Pittsburgh and continues to spin a variety of music throughout his hometown and beyond. He prides himself on being not just a producer who digs for rare records but also a musician who actually has the ability to push beyond the stereotypical “beat maker” persona. Among producing for many indie artists, Buscrates is one-third of E.L.Q. (East Liberty Quarters) which is a group that consists of two other Pittsburgh producers, Nice Rec and Geeman and belongs to the music collective, Futuristic Soul Society. There’s much drive & determination in BusCrates 16-Bit Ensemble & it will be only a matter of time before the whole world witnesses it.

I got a chance to ask the man a few questions…So lets hop In The Studio with…Buscrates…

QCM: State your name, How long you’ve been producing music and who you have produced music for…

Buscrates: My name is Orlando Marshall, aka Buscrates. I’ve been producing since 2001. I’ve produced music for Replife, Iman Williams, Velben, Meemee Nelzy, Kid A (we’re working on a full project now), Varsity Squad, B. Lowe, Mac Miller, and a few others.

QCM: What types of gear can we find in your studio these days…And whats your “weapon of choice” for beat making?.

Buscrates: Wurlitzer 206A electronic piano, Rhodes electric piano, some percussion instruments, and a couple of analog synthesizers. Oh, and records, of course! I was using the MPC2000XL for a few years, but recently moved it out in favor of the Wurlitzer. My next MPC will either be a 1000 or a 60.

QCM: Interesting. I’m a 2kxl lover myself and I don’t think it will ever leave the studio. A 60 would be nice to have, But then i would need a s-950 to pair it with too!. What’s your take on the State of Recording and the Bedroom Studio Vs The Big Name Studio , and where do you do most of your work?

Buscrates: I do pretty much all of my work here at home. I usually take something to a bigger studio if I’m getting something mastered for a vinyl release, but that’s about it. I don’t have the income to be in a big studio too often. It’s a good thing to get your work done at big studios, but it’s not absolutely necessary all the time.

QCM: Fair enough. Do you play any Instruments or have any Musical background/schooling aside from hiphop and beat making?

Buscrates: Aside from a couple older cats who were nice enough to teach me a few things, I’ve learned everything I know about piano through my own research. I play everything by ear, as I can’t read sheet music yet. It looks like a foreign language to me! I can play a few basic rhythms on drums, but I have no aspirations in being the next Idris Muhammad..haha..

QCM: * doubt! What do you think about the Hardware Vs Software debate with music production? Do you use 1 or the other, or both?

Buscrates: I use both. I work without boundaries. Each has something the other doesn’t. I’ve always been a hardware person, but over the years I gradually made my way towards software, and began to incorporate it in my hardware setup. I love Ableton Live! Been on that since ’08. I’m big on Logic Pro now too. I’m still a rookie in that but I’m learning!

QCM: I hear you, Ableton has been on the come up for a few years now. Alot of people are using it. Sampling and Record Digging is a big part of Hiphop music…Do you look for any certain artists when looking for that next sample?? And do you agree with sampling other sources aside from vinyl?

Buscrates: It’s all fair game. My main source of samples is vinyl, but it’s not the only one. There are so many different tools and resources available, and I’m not a purist to the point where I would limit myself to sampling only vinyl. There are a few hip hop classics that have come from sources other than the black wax.

BusCrates 16​-​Bit Ensemble 7″

QCM: No doubt. It’s good to stay openminded about sample sources. Have you ever sampled something that you thought was untouched, then heard it used by others after the fact?

Buscrates: Several times! It’s usually someone major like Premier or someone from the DITC crew..but as long as they’ve done it, it’s almost to be expected. I was in grade school when Gang Starr ‘Manifest’ dropped, and I’m sure Primo had the ill stacks of vinyl back in ’89. I bet he was out diggin’ while I was doing Social Studies homework.

QCM: Walk us through your beat making process from start to finish. Are you a sample first, or drums first kinda guy?

Buscrates: Usually drums first. I build everything around drums.

QCM: Do you ever go through “Beat-Block” (like Writers Block) and how do you overcome it….

Buscrates: For me, beat block usually happens when I’m trying to force something, or if something’s on my mind real heavy. I try not to force anything. I’ll usually just leave, go do something else, and come back refreshed.

QCM: What do you think about Beat Makers calling themselves Producers? Is there a difference? And if you think there is, what are the differences?

Buscrates: The definition hasn’t ever really been clear cut to me, and things have changed so much over the years. It can be thought of as one and the same. Just like Quincy Jones, a legendary producer, arranged and got all the right people in the right room to make all that magical stuff, is the same way Pete Rock gets all those sounds and drums and makes magical, timeless stuff, too.

QCM: Who do you look up too on the Beat Making / Production tip?

Buscrates: DJ Spinna. Been a big fan since the late 90s. Probably my biggest influence as far as beatmakers go. Jay Dee, Large Professor, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Pete Rock too.

QCM: Any last words of advice for the young aspiring beat makers out there reading this?

Buscrates: Good question..a few off the top: Don’t limit yourself. Inspiration can be found almost anywhere. You can learn a lot from people who create outside of your realm. Never feel like you know everything, because that’s when you stop growing..not only as an artist, but as a person.

QCM: Let the good people know where they can check out your work online?




Follow Buscrates on Twitter -> @Buscrates


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